So just for fun, and because I’m stuck inside while Chiang Mai reminds me why I shouldn’t visit during the monsoon season, here is a four-month mind, body, soul update for my travels this year.
Yes, it’s been almost five months, but us vagabonds aren’t exactly known for being on time. 🙂
This the first trip that I haven’t become food poisoned at least once. [knocking on the wooden table in front of me] Has my stomach finally become as hardened as what my family jokes about?
In 2006, it was Vientiane, Laos, presumably street BBQ that put me in bed for a week with a fever. I became desperate enough to pound on the wall until the guesthouse owner offered to contact the embassy and bring me water.
In 2007, it was China. Both in Beijing and Tianjin, I was exploding out of both ends. I lived feverishly on the toilet for three days, and I can tell you that isn’t a nice place to live in China. At all.
This year, I thought getting sick would be inevitable, so I was just ready to get it over with. I have become bold enough to break all of the eating rules. I eat aging squid from street carts, in Indonesia I ate at rumah makans (eating houses) that had more flies than customers, and I bought food on the boats regularly. But I still haven’t shat myself once, how disappointing!
God knows what exotic bacteria has set up camp inside my intestines, but so far it has coexisted with me peacefully. Fine with me.
The trade-off to having a great stomach this trip is, as everyone can guess, these nasty coral infections that have been on my ankles and feet for nearly two months now. A few small cuts turned into gaping holes which drain sexy yellow stuff daily despite using creams, gauze, and antibiotics. I’ve learned to live with the pain, but it has kept me from diving and climbing a volcano, so I would rather they just heal up.
To make matters worse, I added to the coral carnage while snorkeling on Tioman Island in Malaysia, bringing the count up to five open wounds now. Noelie, a friend here who does energy healing told me that it was the universe’s way of telling me to stop traveling for a while. I need stability and I will keep injuring myself until I get it — an interesting theory indeed.
Well, universe, if you are listening, you’re going to have to throw some gangrene my way for that to happen.
Without a doubt, what happened in the Gili Islands in Indonesia during the first month of my trip changed everything. It changed my trip, my life, my entire perspective on this whole operation. No need to go into details here, but I claimed to be a tortured soul before that happened…wow…little did I know.
Lucky for me, God sent along the right people at the right time to bring me back to center. Otherwise, I honestly can’t say where I would be right now. Probably not here writing this.
I feel alive. More alive than in years. People literally feel and comment on the heat that radiates off of my body when I stand nearby. Maybe it’s the fever from the infections, but I like to think that it’s my chi. I feel like I am vibrating with energy, that I could take on the world. It feels invincible, intoxicating, and explosive. I hope it never goes away, but I know from past experience that it does after a short time at home.
For now, I am in the zone and feel like there is nothing that I can’t do. I get out of bed in the morning (well, around noon) ready to grab my destiny by the hair and pull it inside the room.
Staying alive is my business, and business is good.
As for other things…
Despite good efforts, I packed too much. I have successfully blown the battery on my laptop by using poor-quality power. I had my electric clippers stolen from the hostel in Kuala Lumpur. Other than that, I have had too much stuff rather than too little. My worst packing regret? That I didn’t throw in my battery-operated iPod speakers for all the impromptu parties in places with no electricity.
I spent far more in Indonesia than planned. This is because their inflation is out of control, prices in the Lonely Planet have doubled in three years. Also, I was forced to take a handful of internal flights which are no longer cheap! Malaysia is definitely costly, and I spent more in Singapore in three days than in 10 days in Indonesia.
I can make all the excuses I want, but part of it is my mindset. I should be in sleeping-on-the-beach mode and instead I find myself spending more lately for a little extra comfort…maybe I’m getting too old for this. 🙂
My broken laptop makes it hard to find places to work; now I need both wireless and a power point. Still, I’ve managed to do a little side work on top of keeping the blog up. Not nearly as much as I had planned, but how can you sit inside a guesthouse with a new country knocking at your door? Some professional bloggers do it, and enjoy far greater success on their websites than I do, but I haven’t mastered the discipline yet. Maybe next year. Or maybe never.
The first few months in Indonesia were fairly quiet, both because of my remote location and also because I wasn’t feeling very social. I needed some serious time in the wild alone. I’ve made up for it though in Malaysia and already in Thailand, maybe another month of this and I will have enough friends to be considered cool on Facebook?
I did get to reconnect with people all over that I had met previously in other parts of the world, Rob a fellow blogger/photographer living in Singapore, and a great group of new vagabonds here in Chiang Mai that I met through my blog. Like I said before: it feels absolutely great to go to a new place and already know people there.
In summary, so far this has been one hell of a trip, a roller-coaster for sure. Some of the ride is scary, but when I come out of the tunnel I raise my hands up, feel the wind in my face, and scream in delight with everyone else.
Life is good but I miss Elin.